RENTON – Consider it a good problem to have.
John Schneider and Pete Carroll had a hard time convincing rookie free agents to sign with the Seahawks, a reflection of the strength of Seattle's roster and the difficulty those players will have to even make the team, let alone make an impact.
"This was the hardest rookie free agent period we've ever had," Schneider said before the team announced the addition of nine undrafted rookies. "Pete was recruiting like crazy just now, and we were negotiating with a bunch of guys. Once you know that guys are making very hard decisions to come with you, that's when you know you're improving."
Seattle's nine undrafted rookies include wide receiver Matt Austin (Utah State); tackle Alvin Bailey (Arkansas); defensive end Kenneth Boatright (Southern Illinois); linebackers Ramon Buchanan (Miami), John Lotulelei (UNLV) and Craig Wilkins (Old Dominion); strong safety Ray Polk (Colorado); guard Jordon Roussos (Bowling Green) and running back Dominique Whaley (Oklahoma).
The Seahawks' 11-member draft class didn't include a linebacker, a mild surprise given their overall lack of depth at the position and the fact that one starting spot remains unsettled. That helps explain why three of their rookie free agents are linebackers.
"We got a couple [linebackers] that we will sign in free agency ... that were guys we were hoping to draft at one point in the draft in a couple different spots," Carroll said. "So we were very fortunate to get a couple guys to come on board here after the seventh round was done."